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Air Ambulance Companies Fight 'Surprise Billing' Legislation - T.V. Ads target rural communities

NASHVILLE, TN  – Commercials are claiming helicopter ambulances bases are closing are designed to derail a proposed law that would stop surprise billing.

As reported by WSMV, the bill was designed to make sure patients don’t end up with outrageous and unexpected medical bills, but some emergency responders said if it passes, there will be unintended consequences.


The television commercial that’s running across Tennessee says “Air medical services are at risk.”


The ads say when it comes to helicopter ambulances, more than 30 bases have closed this year, mostly in the rural communities that need them. They want viewers to contact Sen. Lamar Alexander “and protect access to air medical services,” according to the ad.


The companies behind the ad are referring to a proposed bill which would prevent “surprise billing,” patients being on the hook for what insurance companies refuse to pay.


In many cases that includes expensive air ambulance rides.

Air ambulance companies like Air Evac claim the bill may result in more helicopter bases closing.

Those who support the bill said 69% of air ambulance transports aren’t covered by insurance.

The bills end up costing families $30,000 to $50,000 and, in most cases, the victims have no choice on whether to be transported by air.

They said this proposed law would protect rural families from having a life-threatening emergency and then having to go bankrupt.

Other states are facing similar challenges. Alaska recently lifted regulations on air medical memberships, in an attempt to save some of its citizens from the devastating costs associated with some air medical bills.

Some states, such as Wyoming, have looked to non-traditional means of lowering surprise medical bills. Wyoming is considering making air medical part of its public health department.


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